Who I Am

I have been thinking a lot lately about what has shaped me into the person that I am today.  I should start by pointing out that I am a very reflective person.  This helps in understanding which challenges and triumphs from my childhood have developed into things I am either happy or unhappy with in my adult self.  And that understanding helps spark the necessary change needed to grow.

For example, I grew up a very quiet and shy person.  In turn that meant that I was not very good at establishing new friendships.  Not for a lack of wanting, that's for sure, but simply because I wasn't confident enough to speak up and be myself.  And to be honest, to this day, this is still something that I work on.  I have come a long way, but I would say a good 50% of the time I still relate to that awkward, don't-know-what-to-say little girl more than I care to admit.

I think being a product of a divorce has a strong impact on any children involved.  No matter how good or bad the situation is handled.  With no one person to blame.  Every situation is different, of course, but my childhood had its ups and downs (whose didn't?!) following my parents divorce, leaving me with a certain amount of fear about speaking up.  How did I cope with this?  I really thought about everything before I said it, to make sure that it was the right thing to say and that it wouldn't upset or hurt anyone.  I am pretty sure a therapist would tell me that this played a significant role in my ability to feel comfortable speaking up and being myself with people I didn't know very well.  It also meant that thinking through what I was going to say before I said it, became automatic for me.  A habit.  And as we all know, habits are not easy to break.

Now, I could let that excuse, or reason, hold me back from trying to overcome this fear, or I can take responsibility for my adult self and actually try.  And that is what I have done.  Though I will not claim to be anywhere near perfect at it, I try.  I host group events and hikes, I have learned to make good conversation with strangers, and slowly but surely have built a small army (okay that's an exaggeration, but they are my army) of friends that I know I can count on.

I am not perfect.  I go through periods where I don't feel like putting myself through the discomfort of change.  Where maybe I even secretly wish that I didn't have to deal with 'insert issue here.'  But the truth is, if you don't put yourself in uncomfortable situations throughout your life, and never challenge and push yourself to be better, to do better, you aren't going to get a lot out of your life.  And while I have several things that I want to continue working on, to become a better, stronger person, I have to remind myself that in the long run, I am doing myself a favor.  In the long run, I will learn to appreciate the hardships I have faced and be so proud that I came out the other side okay.  No, more than okay, great!

Chris said something earlier this week as we were chatting about one of those issues that I am struggling to push through, and it really stuck with me.  He is always so good at listening and validating my feelings, and when we were wrapping up the conversation, and I was starting to feel better, he said, 'I know how you feel. Everyone has their things, this just happens to be one of yours.'  And it was such a great reminder, that although not everyone has this issue, everyone has their struggles and their wishes for things to be different. Reminders like that really help me keep things in perspective.  Especially to remember that many others have much worse things to deal with.  And it gives me just what I need, to continue pushing forward.

I think as writers, and that is what us bloggers are, writers, though not in the traditional sense of the word, we must make ourselves vulnerable and expose things about ourselves that we might otherwise keep private. That is what helps us stretch and grow, sometimes like a graceful ballerina, and other times like a baby giraffe, slowly becoming the person we want to be.

It also amazes me how therapeutic it is to write about my feelings.  For me, it is part of the growth process. It offers me the reflection and perspective that I crave when I feel lost in the maze of life.  I will try to work up the courage to share my current thing soon.  I would love to hear if you have struggled with the same, and how you worked through it.

Happy Wednesday!